Some people fancy themselves as strictly smokers when it comes to cannabis; they’re all about the puff and not interested in alternative methods of ingestion, like an edible. Others use marijuana any way they can: they look longingly in the direction of weed and whisper, “I just want you inside of me.” They’ll smoke it, they’ll eat it, they’ll try a cannabis patch, they’ll even consider rectal suppositories. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, edibles are an enticing option. But newbies be warned: the high is different than the one you get from smoking. For many people, it’s often more powerful (at least compared to smoking regular cannabis and not its concentrates). And this warrants some consideration if you’re trying oral ingestion for the very first time.

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The Benefits of Edibles

One reason to consider an edible is its discreteness. Unlike smoking, eating pot isn’t overt. It’s something that’s easily and slyly done in public places without the side-eye of nearby rocks amphitheater Take Red Rocks, for example, the iconic Colorado concert venue, a place that has long smelled of marijuana smoke (years before recreational weed was legalized). Though the use of pot is still illegal in public, a tokers gonna toke. As a result, some people have complained, sending open letters addressed to pot smokers and publishing them in local newspapers. An edible won’t warrant this kind of protest – no one will know you’re doing it. If you start giggling at the sour gummies as if they’ve broken out into a song and dance number, they might have a clue.

There’s no such thing as second-hand edible exposure for people to protest

Another benefit of edibles is the high itself – most people find it longer lasting and a more powerful body high than smoking. While a joint might keep you feeling good for an hour or two, an edible will do the same for six or eight or twelve. And, because the cannabis enters your body through the gastrointestinal tract and into the liver, the high is more potent. The liver converts THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, an active metabolite whose main talent is crossing the blood-brain barrier. And, of course, edibles are ideal for anyone who can’t tolerate smoke. Pot smoke isn’t as harsh as tobacco, but it’s still smoke and some people have lungs that can’t handle any kind of irritation.

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How to Take an Edible

Sour gummy bearsThe main rule to edibles is to go slow and be patient. While smoking pot will produce a very quick high, edibles won’t. Some people have to go through up to two hours of saying “I’m not feeling anything” before they start feeling something. On average, however, edibles start to work around 45 minutes to an hour. People who lack patience run the risk of compounding their high unintentionally – they assume they didn’t take enough so they eat more. This won’t cause an overdose, but it might make you regret your evening.

Most edibles come in dosages ideal for beginners, such as five or ten milligrams of THC

Some come in much higher amounts: 100 milligrams. These aren’t designed to be consumed all at once; they’re for multiple servings.

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Seven Things to Keep in Mind

As you embark upon an edible journey, there are a few different things to consider. Such as: Start low: If you’re new to pot, or you’re not a particularly large person, start with five milligrams. You can always take more later – much later, after you’ve given pot proper time to work its magic. Don’t take them on an empty stomach: Eating edibles on an empty stomach compounds the high just like drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. Other facts dictate the effects too – your weight, your metabolism, and your gender. Don’t mix them with alcohol: Unless you know what you’re doing, mixing edibles with alcohol can leave your high much more elevated than intended. This isn’t to say that eating a pot brownie and drinking a beer will cause you to streak down Main Street while singing “Suddenly Seymour,” but if it’s your first time, put down the Pabst Blue Ribbon (put down the Pabst Blue Ribbon anyway). Beware of differences: Edibles, even when they’re made commercially, aren’t always homogeneous. One pot muffin might have a lot more zing than another, though they came from the same batch.

If you eat an additional edible because the first one didn’t do much, beware that the second one might do much more

Have non-pot foods around: THC makes us hungry – like stranded in a desert for the past six days hungry. Thus, make sure you have plenty of food around that’s not laced with weed. The last thing you want to do is eat edible after edible because you’re certain that you’re wasting away to skin and bones. Label your foods: Colorado has a rule requiring that edible marijuana products are labeled with the letters “THC” and a diamond-shaped stamp. This regulation is very new, taking effect in September of this year. But it came about after people complained that Oreo cookie sandwich pot products looked too similar to other foods. If you have edibles in your home purchased months back, or you create edibles on your own, they may lack a label. In that case, create one (even if it’s words written on duct tape). This is particularly important if you have children. The kindergarten teacher probably won’t find amusement in you sending little Henry to school with a cookie full of cannabis. Oreo-oh crap!